Updated: July 23, 2013 6:12AM
Wayne Motley had served barely a month as Waukegan’s new mayor before encountering the first momentous test of his leadership.
The job requires broad dedication to civic integrity.
What we see thus far makes us wonder if Motley appreciates that standard.
The deflecting and duplicitous non-explanations about the military record of new Police Chief Robert Kerkorian offer little honor to the chief or the mayor.
It’s time to speak about the value of integrity, Mr. Mayor.
Hiding under the rhetorical table is lousy policy, and worse, pointless. This won’t go away.
Motley has suggested reported falsifications on Kerkorian’s 1987 original police job application are “rumors.” They are not.
Kerkorian was “outed” by Don Shipley, a former SEAL who exposes military fakers online. Defrocking “valor thieves” is his life’s mission.
If Kerkorian did not lie, he could simply say so. His silence is thunderous.
Motley has stated repeatedly that such a lie, even if true, would be “irrelevant.” That is patently false. A legitimate SEAL alumnus would have been a prize for the Waukegan police force, and veterans consider such falsehoods the highest insult.
The lie steals the reputation of warriors who earned that respect with their blood. SEALs are expected to be heroes.
Motley has reiterated repeatedly that Kerkorian was picked to be chief because the two are chums. But public integrity is not a function of friendship, and though Kerkorian’s police record might be exemplary, the lie that launched that career is shameful.
The shame does not diminish with time or pretense. A lie cannot be forgiven if the liar clings to it.
What the mayor and the chief need is full disclosure and a deep apology.
This is a defining moment for the mayor and his chief. To this point, the definition is not very attractive.